Home » CLIMATE CHANGE, CAN WE FIGHT IT? » Pandora’s Box » 4. What are we doing now?

4. What are we doing now?

Until now the approach towards global warming is not much more than promising and more talking. It’s not surprising because the Kyoto and Doha conference was all about cutting emissions.  How is that possible if economies driving on growth?

Growth means more productivity, burning more energy.  Because we don’t have enough carbon neutral energy yet, CO2 emissions will only rise.

So what did we do? We invented Carbon Credits. Einstein would turn in his grave if he knew this. I repeat a part of his quote; “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks are calling for more carbon-trading. And experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 – $10 trillion making carbon the largest single commodity traded.

Carbon Credits stands for a system that is not measurable and not countable. The existence of Carbon Credits will only slow any reforestation process because;

It’s impossible to calculate the value of a carbon credit. If we see a carbon credit as a tool to compensate certain damage (done by releasing carbon in the atmosphere), how can we calculate the value of that damage?

If we see carbon credits as an exchange tool, how can we calculate the value of the exchange? Do we receive more credits from a fast growing plantation tree than from an existing forest? Is the use of timber calculated as carbon storage?

The only way to fight global warming is to fight it globally. It doesn’t matter who is polluting because the result is affecting everyone, it doesn’t stop at the border. We can’t blame China for polluting if we buy their cheap products. We can’t blame Indonesia for deforestation if we buy their palm oil. Carbon emissions are done by the world and needs to be fixed by the world.

If the world wants to fight deforestation we should look for the reason why deforestation is happening in the first place.

Although poverty is often cited as the underlying cause of tropical deforestation, analyses of multiple scientific studies indicate that that explanation is an oversimplification. Poverty does drive people to migrate to forest frontiers, where they engage in slash and burn forest clearing for subsistence. But rarely does one factor alone bear the sole responsibility for tropical deforestation.

State policies tend to encourage economic development, such as road expansion projects have caused significant, unintentional deforestation in the Amazon and Central America. Agricultural subsidies and tax breaks, as well as timber concessions, have encouraged forest clearing as well. Global economic factors such as a country’s foreign debt, expanding global markets for rainforest timber and pulpwood, or low domestic costs of land, labor, and fuel can encourage deforestation over more sustainable land use.

You have to be very naive to expect that throwing-in Carbon Credits will change anything. It only creates corruption and a money-flow from rich to rich. What we need is a money-flow from rich to poor.

Chopping a tree down means cash the next day, planting a tree takes years to generate cash, if you were hungry or need money to feed your family, would you wait for the tree to grow or would you shop down the next tree?

We should offset Carbon Credits against education, healthcare and poverty. In that way the offset of carbon credits is measurable and useful.

Deforestation is done for economic reasons; forestation should give a higher economic value. Ask someone to plant a tree because they will get better from it, don’t expect that someone will plant a tree to better the world.

To fulfill our demand for energy Australia for example invested more than 200 billion dollars in gas projects since the Kyoto conference.

To name a few

  • Gorgon – $57 billion, the largest natural gas project in Australian history
  • Ichthys – $43 billion, natural gas project, located off the coast of northwest Australia.
  • Australia Pacific LNG – $37 billion, extract natural gas from coal seams in the northeastern part of the country.
  • Wheatstone – $35 billion, Australian LNG project northwestern Australia.
  • Queensland Curtis LNG – $34 billion.
  • GLNG – $30 billion, island off the northeast city of Gladstone.

To pull projects like these, companies are using the best scientist, engineers and constructors available. It is an army of knowledge, competence and shiploads of money.

The Gorgon project by Chevron Australia, a few words copied from their website http://www.chevronaustralia.com/ourbusinesses/gorgon.aspx

Energy Fueling Economic Growth

Gorgon will be an important pillar of the Australian economy for more than 40 years.  Economic benefits from the first 30 years of the initial project scope, according to ACIL Tasman will include a projected AU$64 billion boost to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product and direct and indirect employment of around 10,000 people at peak construction. Australian businesses also will benefit with many contractor opportunities.

Balancing Energy Demands with Environmental Objectives

Barrow Island will be Gorgon’s home – occupying 1.3 percent of its un-cleared land mass. Although a Class A Nature Reserve, it is recognized internationally as a location where industry and the environment co-exist.

It’s our plan to build a plant that will include three, 5 million-ton-per-year LNG trains and a domestic gas phase and establish international shipping facilities.

120821123511-gallery-big-projects-gorgon-plant-chevron-large-gallery-horizontal

To offset projects like above we need something more than the environmental army there is today. To make it all more visible below is the biggest tree planting project in the world. This is not a joke, this is happening, Below the United Nations Environment Programme.

A few words copied from their website.

http://www.plant-for-the-planet-billiontreecampaign.org/About.aspx

Commit to Action – Join the Billion Tree Campaign!

Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, organizations, business and industry, civil society and governments are being encouraged to plant trees and enter their tree planting pledges on this web site. The objective is to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year.

billion trees

The Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation was founded in January 2010 in Germany and is governed by a 14 headed Global Children Board and a two headed Adult Board. The Foundation is under the Patronage of Klaus Toepfer (a former UNEP Executive Director) and H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco.

For the Billion Tree Campaign, the Foundation is receiving advice from an advisory council, consisting of Founding Partners: The Green Belt Movement, The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forestry and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

A worldwide effort

Recognizing that there are many tree planting schemes around the world, UNEP proposes to federate these efforts in both rural and urban areas. People and entities – individuals, children and youth groups, schools, community groups, non-governmental organizations, farmers, private sector organizations, local authorities and national governments – are encouraged to enter pledges on the online form. Each pledge can be anything from a single tree to several million trees.

The responsibility will lie with the person/organization making the pledge via the campaign website to arrange for the tree planting.  All contributing participants will receive a certificate of involvement. They will be encouraged to follow up via the web site so UNEP can verify that the trees have survived, in partnership with certification mechanisms, such as the Forest Stewardship Council. The website will record the ongoing tally of pledges, and also publish photos and accounts from registered campaign members of what they have achieved.

The campaign strongly encourages the planting of indigenous trees and trees that are appropriate to the local environment. Advice on tree planting (How to plant a tree) is available via the website, as well as information about reforestation and other tree-related issues, including links to appropriate partner organizations best equipped to give locally tailored advice, such as the World Agro forestry Centre (ICRAF). Because ideal planting conditions vary in different regions, the campaign will operate throughout the year.

I don’t need words to explain what is going wrong if you compare these two projects.  It’s obvious;  The highest standard of knowledge and resources against good-willing volunteers. Global Warming can’t be stopped by a bunch of volunteers everyone should realize that. The quest is; CO2 out of the air and into storage. To do so we need the same amount of effort and resources as we used to get all that carbon in the atmosphere.

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